Paris becomes the first European capital to ban self-service electric scooters

A woman rides a scooter in Paris, Friday, march 31, 2023.
A woman rides a scooter in Paris, Friday, march 31, 2023. Copyright Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AFP
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This follows a referendum in April in which Parisians voted to ban the battery-powered-scooters, confirming that many regarded them as an unbearable nuisance.


Banned from the French capital by popular vote, self-service electric scooters are enjoying their last day in Paris on Thursday, marking the end of five years of controversial use, much to the dismay of their users.

From 1 September, Paris will become the first European capital to completely ban these self-service two-wheelers. Many Parisians have become fed up with seeing them zigzagging between pedestrians, even when limited to 10 km/h in certain zones, or parking in the middle of pavements, and a number of accidents have been attributed to them.

Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
A man parks a scooter in Paris, Friday, march 31, 2023.Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

The three operators, Lime, Tier and Dott, will lose their authorisation to occupy public space after an unprecedented 'vote' in early April. The "no" vote won by almost 90 per cent, but only 7.46 per cent of people on the electoral roll turned out to vote.

The Socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, had herself campaigned for the "no" vote, stressing that the removal of these scooters would reduce "nuisance".

Since August, the 15,000 scooters have gradually been taken off the streets - only a handful were available on Thursday, mainly in the centre of Paris - to be sent to other cities for repair.

Of the 5,000 scooters produced by the German company Tier, a third will remain in the Paris region, in 80 communes around Marne-la-Vallée or Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The rest will go mainly to Germany.

Dott will be sending its scooters to Belgium and Tel Aviv. Lime's green scooters will go to Lille, London, Copenhagen and several German cities.

"We've turned the page on scooters" for the whole of the Paris region, Xavier Miraillès, director of public affairs at Californian company Lime, told reporters.

"It makes me sad because I think it's so nice to be able to get around like this, to go from right to left without the stress of being in a car, of being stuck", says Valérie Rinckel, a user of the service.

On the other hand, "I think it's safer if we stop here and end up cycling again, or if people take the bus or public transport", says Anass Eloula, another customer.

In Paris, some 400,000 people chose a scooter to get around in 2022, according to operators.


The operators are banking on their customers switching to bicycles, which are already offered by everyone, which should enable them to avoid redundancies, at least for the time being.

Only at Dott, which will only be transferring around ten of its 50 employees from scooters to bikes, is a job protection plan (PSE) in the process of being validated.

Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Tourists ride a scooter in Paris, Friday, march 31, 2023.Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

"It's a big page that's being turned for Tier, but rather than indulge in nostalgia, we prefer to look ahead," explains Clément Pette, head of the company's operations in France, referring to the 5,000 bikes still available.

"The development of cycling is booming" with "very interesting prospects", confirms Mr Miraillès, from Lime, which offers 10,000 bikes.

But this mode of transport is unlikely to win unanimous support.

For tourists, "the bicycle is an alternative" but "it's not the same thing, it's bigger and heavier... it's not so agile", complains Amanda Rollins, an American influencer with 740,000 subscribers on TikTok, and a great fan of scooters.

Some regular users might opt to buy a scooter, or take advantage of an alternative daily, half-day or weekly rental offer, such as the one announced on Wednesday by Volt, a distributor of electric motorbikes, mopeds, and scooters.


"It's not self-service at all," company founder Grégory Coillot told reporters.

The company, which launched the idea before the Paris vote, wants to offer "those who use self-service scooters on a daily basis", and "even tourists", the chance to hire them - "also with a view to the Olympic Games".

"The end of free-floating will greatly accelerate the demand for rental", he believes, and he wants to set up a network of 1,000 to 2,000 scooters, especially "at all the crucial points where there was this very high demand" for self-service.

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